When he finally came to, he found himself on the dirty floor, panting. With all the strength he could muster, he crawled to the phone, which was buried under a pile of reeking laundry covered in food crumbs. He scanned the room, for the first time viewing the disgrace he was living in. He knew there was an eviction notice on his door, his electricity was one day from being turned off and the entire span of the small studio apartment he called home was covered in filth. He let his head fall to the floor in defeat. Then, summoning his energy, he picked up the receiver. He pushed the speed dial of his dealer. No answer. He’d never been this far gone before. Never run out and felt this close to death. Where was Eddie? He needed him. A voice pushed through his clouded mind, saying, “That’s not who you need.”
Yeah, he thought. I’ll call Kyla. She’ll have some she can spare. He picked up the phone again but as he went to dial he heard, “Matt?” Crap, it was his sister. He couldn’t talk to her right now.
“Matt, are you there?”
“Yeah,” his voice croaked.
“Matt, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing. I’ll call you back.”
“You sound really bad. I’m coming over.”
“No” he protested but she’d already hung up. He knew she knew. She’d been trying to get him to go into a program for months now but he wasn’t ready. He needed to talk to a friend. Someone who would understand. Then he’d feel better. Maybe he could just hang out with someone from his crowd. Just being around them might lift his spirits, he didn’t even have to use. Yes, he would have someone come pick him up before his sister got here, before she started in on her lecturing. He called Eddie again but still no answer. Then he called his girlfriend, Kyla. She picked up on the first ring. “Hey, Baby.” she said, her voice high-pitched. He knew she was loaded.
“Kyla, can you come get me?”
“Yeah, we can go to the party at Jim’s.”
“No. Can we just hang out? I’m not feeling so great, but I need to try to get through it this time. If I can. I have a job interview in a couple of days and I’m supposed to get my daughter this weekend for a supervised visit. I blew it off last time,” his voice sounded weak and unconvincing, even to him.
“Oh, babe. Um, yeah.” Her hesitation was clear. “Why don’t I call you then when I get back from the party? Love you,” and then she hung up.
Why was this happening? Every time he needed them, they weren’t there. They were there when the party was at his house, when there was fun to be had, but they didn’t seem to care about helping him get his life in order. He remembered when his friend, Carl had quit using drugs a couple of months ago. Matt had intended to call him, see how he was doing but had kept pushing it aside. He’d kind of looked at it like Carl just didn’t know how to have a good time anymore.
He’d never intended for his life to turn out like this. Had just been experiencing a lonely patch after the divorce. He was only twenty-eight. He’d started just going to the bar after work with a buddy. Then partying more and meeting really cool people. Or so he thought. They seemed to have the life. They slept in every day, didn’t worry about responsibility. How they took care of business and paid bills, he didn’t know, but it sure had seemed they were living large. And then he met Kyla. She was so free-spirited. She’d gotten him to loosen up, have a little fun himself. He’d never realized it would spiral out of control. He thought he could handle it. But now here he lay, shaking on the floor for a fix, not one of his friends willing to help him out. He closed his eyes; he’d figure it out.
“Matt?” His sister’s voice rang in his ears like the voice of an angel and he hung to a hope that there might be something that could save him.